Warning: If you are offended by same sex couples or sensitive about religion I would suggest hitting the back button now. For all of you who aren't, enjoy.
The Skeptics Organization
Trent stared out at the sun rising, causing the waterfront to turn a brilliant shade of crimson. The warm breeze lazily meandered over the land, causing his tan trench coat to billow around his knees just a bit. He slowly took a sip of coffee as his piercing blue eyes looked out at the boats leaving the harbor for the morning. He kept brushing the silver hair out of his eyes, desperately trying to tuck it behind his ears. The tall man's experiment with chin length hair wasn't fairing as well as when it was longer. He shrugged it off and drank some more of the black expensive beverage.
After resting his paper cup on the railing in front of him the Trent slipped off the wire frame glasses. He cleaned them with a white handkerchief that was pulled out of dark gray pants, not wanting to mess up his dress shirt and tie. After inspecting them with the newly risen sun, he replaced the spectacles on his skinny face, pushed some more hair behind his ear, than gave up and drank some more coffee. The watch on his wrist read six fifty five am. It was almost time.
Trent turned his back to the water as to face the beginning bustle of people rushing to their early morning jobs. He observed them hastening by, an activity he always enjoyed doing. All his life, the tall man had a very observant nature, leading to an acute deduction skill. He could always put all pieces together.
Out of the crowd, a shorter man came walking his way. The silver haired man checked him out, noticing that he wasn't bad looking. He seemed very fresh around the ears, probably mid-twenties (about five years younger than Trent). A dress shirt and tie were contained under an old leather jacket and complimented by baggy black cargo pants. Short-cropped black hair sat uncombed above an unshaven face. Adhered to his right cheek was a white bandage. His dark brown eyes were fixated upon the tall thin man drinking coffee.
"Excuse me," He said as he stopped a few feet from him, "Are you Trent O'Brien?"
"That be me," the tall man answered slowly. He took another sip of his hot beverage while he eyed the boy. "I would assume that you are Ryan Canon."
"You've got that right," A large white smile was plastered on his face.
"What happened to your cheek?"
"Well," He rubbed the back of his head, looking a bit ashamed, "I kind of forgot to block last night."
"You see, there was a little brawl at a bar I was at last night, and I decided that I should stop it. Unfortunately I forgot to block and I got a fist in my face."
"So you got in a drunken bar fight?"
"No, no," The younger man answered quickly, "I don't drink. I was there for a friend of mine. It was his birthday and I thought I would go out and keep him company. Than there was this fight and I yeah. I'm talking to much."
Trent nodded, more than slightly amused. His last partner was wound so tight he snapped. It was good to finally be around some humor. He chuckled.
He picked up a second cup of coffee that was resting on the rail behind him and held it out for Ryan.
"Sure," He received the beverage with a slight bow, "thanks, but I don't normally drink this stuff. I prefer the energy drinks. Anyway, why are we meeting here and not at our office."
"This is our office."
The boy looked perplexed.
"Well at least for today. It will be somewhere else tomorrow."
"Alright, I'm confused. Please explain."
"How much did they tell you?"
"All the academy's placement department told me was that they found the perfect place for me to work. They didn't tell me more. I just figured it was a division of some police department."
"We aren't police per say, though we do recruit from the police academy."
Trent sighed. This was always the hardest part of the job, breaking in a new employee. Their job was quite unorthodox.
"Have you heard stories of bleeding religious statues, visions of god, miracles, stuff like that?"
"Yeah, here and there. They are usually found to be false."
"That's what we do."
"Make statues bleed?"
Trent chuckled again.
"No, we're the people who investigate them."
Ryan took a drink of his coffee and looked out over the waterfront. The gears were clearly turning within his skull.
"Why," he said as he turned to the older man, "doesn't the church investigate it? I'm an atheist. Never once believed in God or Buddha or Muhammad."
"That's exactly why people like you and me are hired. Someone who believes in a higher being might be more likely to label something a miracle quicker than someone who is a skeptic and grounded. That is why the Skeptic Organization was created. While the church officially runs us they only give us our assignments. We work under our own authority, having judicial powers on par with the police, and the church cleans up any mess. It's kind of nice."
The smile on Trent's face showed his love for the job.
"So," Ryan said, "let me get this straight. We work for the church but we don't have to answer to them. We just get to investigate weird things. Is that about right?"
Trent finished his coffee.
"You fit the profile and you were in the top ten of your class. Remember that test you took a few weeks ago?"
The young man nodded.
"That was to see if you would fit in here. You passed with flying colors."
"Oh," the only thing Ryan could think of saying. Yet again he looked out over the water, contemplating the situation. It wasn't that weird, he guessed. Instead of catching killers and robbers, he'd be catching people who fake religious events. He could deal. Not to mention the pay was pretty good.
Turning to Trent, "So now what?"
Looking left to right to make sure no one was around and paying attention to them, the tall man pulled out a gun with it's holster and handed it to Ryan, who, wide eyed, quickly took it and put it in the waist of his pants till he could remove his belt.
"What the hell is this for?"
"From what? I thought we were investigating statues. Why would I need a gun?"
Trent rubbed his chin.
"Yes sometimes it will be as simple just taking a person in, but a lot of these people are pretty evil. Especially if they are going to use religion as a way of getting rich. Like any other criminal, a good portion of them will fight to stay free."
"Yeah, we capture these perpetrators and hand them over to the church. They deal with it."
"Wait, wait, wait," Ryan said putting up his hands, "The church can arrest people?"
"As you will soon learn," Trent answered, "The church holds a lot more power than you would ever think."
"Alright," Ryan gave up, "fine, whatever. It's a job. I'll go for it."
"Good," Trent answered, thankful to have this man as his partner. While at the moment he seemed a bit frazzled, the tall man got a good feeling from Ryan and looked forward to working with him.
"Now what Trent?"
His brown eyes connected with blue and they stood gazing for a few moments longer than they should have. As if realizing it, Trent broke the stare and quickly spoke up.
"We're going to Texas. There is a small town there named Freemont that's getting a lot of buzz lately. Seems to be that at their church an apparition of Christ appears on a cross. As per our orders, we are to go investigate and see what is the source of this 'ghost'. Retrieve your stuff from the hotel and we'll be on our way. We have a jet waiting for us at the airport."
"Our own jet," Ryan said astonished, "the church does hold power. Speaking of hotel, when should I start looking for a new place to stay?"
"As part of the job, you won't have a permanent residence. We are on the road so often that we live out of hotels."
"These sort of things happen that often?"
Trent yet again looked into the boy's eyes.
"You'd be surprised."
Ryan finished his coffee while they started walking to catch a cab.
"Hey Trent," he said as he threw out his cup, "how many times have you not been able to find a reasonable explanation for one of these events?"
Sorry for the long boring first chapter. I needed to get all the background stuff out of the way. I hope you all will enjoy this, seeing how I'll probably be going to hell from making a shonen ai story about two guys who work for the church but oh well. There will be much more to come.